Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) - Wiki
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The Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) is a small broad-tailed parrot endemic to Australia. It is grass-green above, and yellow below. The adult male has prominent, two-tone blue frontal band, a green-blue uppertail with yellow sides, and an orange patch on his belly.
This species has a very small population and, though numbers are stable or increasing at one intensively-managed breeding site in Tasmania, numbers continue to decline at outlying sites, and it is assumed to be declining overall. It is therefore listed on the IUCN Red List as Critically Endangered. The current population is estimated at 180.
Orange-bellied Parrots only breed in south-west Tasmania. The entire population migrates over Bass Strait to spend the winter on the coast of south-eastern Australia. These few sites contain their favoured saltmarsh habitat, and includes sites in or close to Port Phillip such as Werribee Sewage Farm, the shores of Swan Bay, Swan Island, Lake Connewarre State Wildlife Reserve, Lake Victoria and Mud Islands, as well as French Island in Western Port.
Taxonomy and naming
The species name, chrysogaster, was given by ornithologist John Latham in 1790 and means 'golden belly'. It has previously been known as the Orange-breasted Parrot - a name given to the Orange-bellied Parrot in 1926 by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union or RAOU (now known as Birds Australia) when the word 'belly' was considered inelegant.
It is listed as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
In 2007, its status was upgraded to from endangered to critically endangered on the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
The 2000 Action Plan for Australian Birds lists it as critically endangered (Garnett and Crowley 2000).
In a report on threatened and extinct birds in Australia in 1992, it was listed as endangered (Garnett 1992).
In a report on threatened birds in Australia in 1990, it was listed as endangered (Brouwer and Garnett 1990).
In Victoria, it is listed as threatened on the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. An Action Statement has been prepared.
The 2000 Action Plan for Australian Birds identifies the following potential threats to the Orange-bellied Parrot:
Fragmentation and degradation of over-wintering habitat
Competition with introduced seed-eaters
Abandonment of former breeding habitat due to altered fire regime and competition for hollows (with the introduced Common Starling)
Random events due to the small size of the population
Disorientation from brightly-lit fishing boats (during the migrations across Bass Strait)
Disease (such as Psittacine Circoviral Disease)
Other identified potential threats include:
Lack of safety in numbers for a small bird attractive to avian predators (Brouwer and Garnett 1990)
Historically was trapped for aviculture (Garnett 1992)
Conflict with Development
The Woolnorth windfarm on Tasmania's North-West coast is operating with a license to kill up to 6 Orange-bellied Parrots every two years. In 2001, then Australian federal environment minister Robert Hill approved the wind farm, along the main migratory flight path for the parrot, with several conditions to protect migrating birds. To date no Orange-bellied Parrots have been found to collide with the turbines.
The Orange-bellied Parrot earned the wrath of Victorian premier Jeff Kennett in the 1990s. A proposed relocation of the Coode Island Chemical storage facility to a location near Point Wilson was jeopardised by the potential impacts upon Orange-bellied Parrot habitat. Mr Kennett famously described this species as a 'trumped-up corella'. This moniker was later adopted as the title for the Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Teams newsletter.
In 2006, the potential threats to the Orange-bellied Parrot were cited as the key reason for Commonwealth Minister rejecting the proposal to build the Bald Hills Wind Farm in eastern Victoria. This decision was later reversed, and the company was provided with approval to proceed (under certain conditions). The intense media scrutiny at this time placed the Orange-bellied Parrot temporarily into the spotlight. In the subsequent months, additional funding was provided for the parrots recovery, and its status under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 was raised from endangered to critically endangered.
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